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7 Tips To Reduce Financial Stress – by Jay Winner, M.D.

by TaxMama on January 14, 2009

Investing in Stress Reduction

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just plunged to its lowest level since2004. The evening news scares us more each day. Expecting not to be stressed in such times is unrealistic. Yet stress is deadly; just a few of the conditions associated with high stress include heart disease, stroke,obesity, headaches and Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, health care expenses are 50% greater for workers with high levels of stress. Stress can even make you a worse investor: Acting out of fear and stress is the very thing that can get us to sell low and buy high. Lessening your stress will improve your business smarts, and, more important, improve your life in ways no amount of money can. Yet few people bother. Below are just a few ways to apply some financial principles to the non-financial parts of your life.

1) List your assets. No, not your financial ones; your really important ones… Would you sell your eyes for a million dollars? Your arms? Your family and friends? Add up what you have and what it’s worth to you, then reassess whether you had a bad day or not. This may help put your life in perspective and decrease your stress.

2) Practice accurate accounting. The market plunges and you tell yourself, “This is a catastrophe.” Simply replacing that phrase with “This is unfortunate” will decrease your stress. Given point #1, it is also probably more accurate.

3) Take the long view. At an art museum recently, I viewed some amazing sculptures made well over 2,000 years ago. As I marveled over this artwork, I pondered the generations after generations of people who have struggled with day-to-day hassles and emotions. The latest in a long line, my short-term hassles seemed less extraordinary and more manageable.

4) Take the short view. Tune into what is happening right now. What are the emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations that make up your current experience? Note them without judgment, then accept them for what they are.By doing this, you are less likely to get depressed about being depressed and stressed about being stressed. After this assessment, pay full attention to the task at hand.

5) Diversify. You probably know that it is safer to diversify your portfolio, but it is every bit as important to diversify your life. If you spend most of your time at work, and that becomes your self-identity, then,in essence, all your eggs are in one basket. Something goes wrong at work, and you are miserable. However, if your self-identity involves family, friends, and hobbies, then a bad day at work doesn’t leave you emotionally bankrupt.

6) Take advantage of non-taxing breaks. Finding tax breaks can save you money. But taking breaks from your taxing day can save you even more money by keeping your stress level low and your long-term health high. If you don’t know how to relax, try the free relaxation exercise at

7) Do the research. You wouldn’t invest in a stock without knowing about its business fundamentals, yet too many of us are risking everything on the ultimate investment—our lives and well-being—without understanding the fundamentals of what creates well-being. Learning simple stress-reduction skills can make you happier and more fulfilled, while improving your relationships and work performance. There are courses and books that teach these skills. You may find spending your time on these endeavors to be the wisest investment you’ve ever made!

Submitted by:
Jay Winner, M.D.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

taxes February 19, 2009 at 5:39 am

I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my delicious. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


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